Pressure on Russian forces mounts after Ukraine’s advances
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Western defense officials and analysts say said they believe Russian forces are setting up a new defensive line in Ukraine’s northeast after Kyiv’s troops broke through the previous one and tried to press their advances further into the east. The British defense ministry said that the line likely was between the Oskil River and Svatove, southeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. The new line comes after a Ukrainian counteroffensive punched a hole through the previous front line and recaptured large swaths of land in the northeastern Kharkiv region. Ukrainian forces are continuing to cross a key river as they try to press on in a counteroffensive targeting Russian-occupied territory in the country’s northeast, according to a Washington-based think tank.
Thousands wait in cold to pay respects to Queen Elizabeth II
LONDON (AP) — Thousands of people have spent London’s coldest night in months huddled in line to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II. Authorities warn that arriving mourners face a 16-hour wait. Queen Elizabeth II’s eight grandchildren are due to stand vigil beside her coffin on Saturday at Parliament’s Westminster Hall. Members of the public kept silently streaming into the hall as King Charles III and his three siblings stood vigil around their mother’s flag-draped coffin for 15 minutes on Friday evening. Police arrested a man after what the force described as a “disturbance.” Parliamentary authorities said someone tried to approach the coffin on the platform where it is lying in state.
Royal fans give London tourism a bump amid UK economic woes
LONDON (AP) — Hotels, restaurants and shops are packed as royal fans pour into the heart of London to experience the flag-lined roads, pomp-filled processions and brave a mileslong line for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to bid adieu to Queen Elizabeth II. Visitors crowding into central London from as far away as the U.S. and India for the historic moment are giving a boost to businesses at a time when the British economy is facing a cost-of-living crisis fueled by the highest inflation in four decades and predictions of a looming recession. The overall economic boost might be limited because Monday has been declared a public holiday for the queen’s funeral. But experts said renewed interest in the royal family could sustain tourism demand.
In Yemen, Queen’s death recalls memories of colonial past
ADEN, Yemen (AP) — There are few remaining reminders that the Yemeni port city of Aden was once a British colony. But the death of Queen Elizabeth II has prompted some Yemenis to remember a colonial rule that oppressed many and deepened divisions inside the country. Elizabeth passed by the city, on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, in 1954 in a visit current generations remember their grandfathers talking about. Some credit the British era with bringing order and organization to Aden. But many say that the chaos of Yemen’s civil war today is no reason to feel nostalgia for a colonial occupation.
Voter challenges, records requests swamp election offices
Election conspiracy theorists are flooding local election offices with voter challenges and public records requests. The wave of inquiries is adding to the already heavy workload those offices face as they scramble to prepare for November’s elections. Election officials say many of the challenges they’re receiving contest the presence on voter rolls of people who already are being removed or have the right to be registered. At a minimum, it takes time for election offices to record all the challenges. And if some of the targeted voters cast ballots in November, there could be a fight over whether to count their votes.
Abrams’ strategy to boost turnout: Early voting commitments
DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is launching an intensive effort to get out the vote by urging potential supporters to cast in-person ballots the first week of early voting as she tries to navigate the state’s new election laws. The strategy, outlined to The Associated Press by Abrams’ top aides, is a shift from 2018, when she spent generously in her first gubernatorial bid to encourage voters to use mail ballots. It also moves away from Democrats’ pandemic-era emphasis on mail voting, a push that delivered Georgia’s electoral votes to President Joe Biden and helped Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff win concurrent U.S. Senate runoffs.
Hungary faces reckoning with EU that could cost it billions
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary’s nationalist-populist government is facing a reckoning with the European Union after nearly a decade of accusations that it has failed to uphold the EU’s democratic values. The EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, appears set to impose financial penalties against Hungary on Sunday over corruption concerns and alleged rule-of-law violations. Hungary is one of the largest net beneficiaries of EU funds in the 27-nation bloc, and the sanctions could cost Budapest billions and cripple its already ailing economy. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has denied the commission’s accusations. A lawmaker who is a former member of Orban’s party alleges the government has channeled large sums of EU money into the businesses of politically connected insiders.
US asks appeals court to lift judge’s Mar-a-Lago probe hold
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has asked a federal appeals court to lift a judge’s order that temporarily barred it from reviewing a batch of classified documents seized during an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home last month. The department made the request Friday with the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta. It says the judge’s hold is impeding the “government’s efforts to protect the nation’s security” and interfering with its investigation into the presence of top-secret information at Mar-a-Lago. It says the hold needs to be lifted immediately so work can resume.
Biden meets with families of Whelan, Griner at White House
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden met with family members of WNBA star Brittney Griner and another American detained in Russia, Paul Whelan. The meetings Friday at the White House are the first face-to-face encounter between the president and the relatives of Griner and Whelan. Administration officials say the sessions are meant to underscore Biden’s commitment to bringing home Americans held overseas and to establish a personal connection, but are not an indication that negotiations with Russia for their release have reached a breakthrough. A national security spokesman told reporters Friday that the U.S. had made a serious offer to get the Americans home but the Russians had not responded to that offer.
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan hold talks to end border fighting
MOSCOW (AP) — The security chiefs of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have sat down for talks to stop fighting on the border between the two countries that has killed at least 24 people and wounded over 100. The Kyrgyz border service announced the new round of talks as the two ex-Soviet nations traded blame for shelling that resumed Saturday morning after a respite overnight. The fighting started Wednesday for no obvious or publicly announced reason. An attempt to establish a cease-fire on Friday afternoon quickly failed. Kyrgyzstan’s Health Ministry says the bodies of 24 people killed in the clashes were delivered to hospitals in the Batken region. It wasn’t immediately clear whether there were any casualties on Tajikistan’s side.
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